Friday, February 20, 2009

The Faithful and the Faithless


"Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near
to you.... Grieve, mourn, and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up."
James 4: 7-10


CJ and I managed to somehow live out both sides of the above scripture this week. Fortunately, he experienced the top half while I unfortunately experienced the second. He was strong and courageous in the face of fear. He said it came for him while he was in the shower on Tuesday. He was thinking of his appointment the next day and worrying about the shot when he suddenly found himself resisting Satan with words and drawing near to God for strength. He told me that he began pointing to the bruise he had on his leg from the shot and pointing to his port and saying firmly (out loud) "Is this all you got? Is that it? Well you are going to have to do a lot better than that to knock me off my feet!" He shared this exchange with with us that night and by the next day we already saw the fruit of his determination to resist the devil. His strength and faith grew throughout the week. Mine, on the other hand, crumbled.

Tonight, we are home after receiving his 6th and final shot of the Erwinia with no reactions! Praise God! We were so lighthearted after he received it that we were having some fun cutting up with the nurses. But leave it to the doctor to come in with his stethoscope and use it to burst your bubble. He did the usual checkup on CJ, and even though things look really good, he got serious and reminded me not to let our guard down. He said this is the time to be alert and on guard for fever and infection. He added, "Watch him closely. These are some strong drugs he just got." (emphasis his!) I took the advice and agreed it is no time to let our guard down. But I do have to admit that as he said those words, I thought to myself, "Well then, it is a good thing that I serve an even stronger God!" I was actually proud of my own internal response. But I admittedly confess my faith is fickle and weak and pathetic! God called my bluff in no less than 10 minutes! It is amazing how easy it is to brag about God's strength when things are looking up, but introduce a dose of unexplainable suffering and the walls come crumbling down. My laughter and joy were quickly turned to mourning and gloom.
The doctor said goodbye and we settled in for the wait of the chemo drip and the mandatory hour after the shot. CJ was watching a movie and I began scribbling some thoughts in my journal. Brett was playing with some other cancer siblings and a little 3 year old cancer patient named Carla when the nurse came to give her some meds. She started to cry and protest. Brett made his way into our little curtained area to watch the movie with CJ. I kept journaling my thoughts when her screams grew louder and louder and harder and harder. I was trying to tune it out and focus on my journaling and I kept having to read the last line I wrote back to myself over and over in an effort to gain a clear thought. The last line I wrote before this little girls crying episode began was, "Forgive me for doubting You, please help me to not struggle so much with this." Do you know how if you ask God for patience He doesn't give you patience but an opportunity to practice patience? Well, immediately after writing that, the little girl went from upset to HYSTERICAL. She was SCREAMING at the top of her 3 year old little lungs, YA! YA! YA! (which i know to be Spanish for stop-stop-stop). That was followed up by screams of NO MOMMY, NO MOMMY, NO, NO. I tried to desperately to tune it out but it was so completely overwhelming. I stopped staring at my journal and started praying. And I mean PRAYING HARD. I was BEGGING God to calm her, to help her, to do something to relieve her fear, her sheer terror at what was happening. I just kept crying out to Him HOW LONG O LORD HOW LONG? I was begging Him to do SOMETHING, ANYTHING. I was trying to match her screams to her mommy with my screams to my Father. As she was screaming YA YA, I was screaming STOP IT STOP IT! And then it happened. I just completely broke down. I LOST IT. I was balling like a baby and screaming at God to Help me understand how HE could just sit there and listen to her scream. I was a TOTAL wreck just like the little girl. The tears just poured and I was heaving sobs to match her sobs. I can STILL hear her screams as I type this. She was yelling for her mom and I could just picture her hysterical little face in my mind searching her mom's face as she held her down for some clue as to why she was letting this happen and begging for her to do something. And here I was behind the curtain yelling for my Father and searching His face for some clue as to why He was letting this happen and begging for Him to do something. Then I began to think very irrationally. At first, I actually considered very seriously opening the curtain and scooping her up and taking her away. Just running out of there with her! I wasn't thinking about what would happen to CJ or Brett. Then in a more rational thought I thought, well maybe I won't take her but I will just scream at them to STOP IT! It was AWFUL. Just awful. I can't even share here all the thoughts that ran through my head but I will share one that surprised me. After all my thoughts of doubt and all the horrible accusations and questions I flung at Him..the last thought that came to me was of another mother listening to the screams of her child as He suffered horribly. I imagined the agony she must have been in; the questions she must have asked; the confusion she must have felt. The thought stunned me into calming down a bit even though I thought it was a strange answer to all my accusations, questions, and pleadings. You see it wasn't the answer I was looking or hoping for. I had asked Him during my crying fit to "SHOW ME WHERE YOU ARE IN THIS GOD. HELP ME UNDERSTAND!" And His answer was to show me His Son suffering while his mother looked on in agony. There's nothing like a good dose of the Gospel to snap you back into reality.
Somewhat calmed now, I tried my best to compose myself because I desperately needed a tissue since I had none in my little cubicle. A nurse caught my face as I walked by and came over to me. She comforted me and I told her I had no idea how she does this day in and day out for a living. The parents saw me crying and I desperately wanted to run and hug the mom who was consoling her little girl who was finally down to just a hysterical whimper at this point. I was so FRUSTRATED because of the language barrier between us. I could not even communicate with her to verbally comfort her or encourage her. So as my eyes met hers I tried to offer her every ounce of love I could muster through a look. I felt so bad for her and she knew my heart was broken for her and her little girl. Her eyes in turn comforted and, surprisingly, thanked me.

Back in my cubicle, I looked at CJ and, for the first time, thanked God it was him that got Cancer and not Brett or Corey. I must confess that when he was diagnosed, I told God He made an awful mistake. Not CJ, I said! And I did not mean, NOT MY CHILD, but...NOT CJ! I actually thought it would be better if it was Brett or Corey because they are little and would not understand. I even remember telling Chris that of all our kids CJ was the worst it could happen to. His answer to me was, "Somehow I knew that if something were to ever happened to one of our kids, it would be CJ." And deep down, I did too, but I also knew CJ was my highly sensitive and fearful child and could not handle this. I was SO wrong. I realized overtime and had it confirmed today that to watch Brett or Corey have to go through this and not be able to explain why I was allowing so many awful things to happen to them would be devastating. Don't get me wrong....we had days in the beginning that CJ was just like that and begged us to make it stop. I I remember that agony because I couldn't do anything.....but at least I could try to explain it to him and help him understand. And over time, he did. And God has used this for the good of his sensitivity and fearfulness. To have to hold one of my little ones down day in and day out while they begged for relief from the two people they trusted most in the world, would have crushed me. Would God have provided the grace? Yes, I believe so. But today, I am so grateful it wasn't required. Tonight, I go to bed with my heart full of love and compassion for all the moms of "little ones" like Clara, and baby Amanda and little Leah and so many others. My prayers are with you and I pray God's grace all over you! I pray Carla's screams leave me before I drift off to sleep! Then again.....no I don't! I pray they are a part of me forever!


"Here is a trustworthy saying:

If we have died with him,
we will also live with him;
If we endure,
we will also reign with him;
If we deny him,
he also will deny us;
If we are faithless,
he remains faithful—
For he cannot deny himself."

2 Timothy 2: 11-13

Prayer Requests:
That the medicines CJ received will continue to do their job and only their job. That he would remain free from infection or toxicity to his other organs as his body fights. That his faith and strength would continue to grow and that God would continue to minister to his little heart. Please pray that God will continue to use Chris and, I as inadequate as we are, to guide all of our children through this with a Gospel minded focus. And lastly, that God would forgive me my accusatory trespasses against Him and deal with my unbelieving heart!

24 comments:

Mary said...

Thank you for sharing your bad moments along with the good ones. We lift not only these little ones up to God in prayer but their families also. And we ask for God's strength and peace and understanding at a time when there would be none. He is faithful and there is no way we could even imagine.... God be with you. His Hand be upon you all.
Love and Prayers,
Mary B. & Family

Enzo said...

It is too hard for me to write much now because I feel the pain of a Mom, the deep pain of a Mom seeing her little girl (her 35 year old girl) crying in a cubicle, processing what the doctor just told her about keeping a very close eye on CJ, processing the little tiny girl next door in such agony, processing, praying, processing, praying, crying.

I know God helped you and you went to bed secure with Him and his love but it still hurts me so much to see you suffer Dawn. I wish I could take it from you like you wish you could take it from CJ.

Like Chris and it is a hard thing to admit we all always knew God had something special for CJ to go through. We use to say that to each other when he was about 4. I think God was preparing us. It is strange though how a little boy that had so much anxiety, was so gentle all the time, could raise his voice naked and vulnerable in the shower and tell Satan to bring it on. Wow. He has more faith than all of us.

I love you guys.

Mom

Anonymous said...

Mrs. George, thank you so much for opening up your life to all of us. I can't even imagine how difficult it must be, to share, with many many people, all the struggles that you are going through. But know this, they have encouraged me, and probably others, in so many ways. They have shown me that God really does answer prayer, that He listens to His children. Even when they are at the lowest point that they can be at, He lifts them up, and gives them the grace that they need. You have shown me that! Thank you for being real with us, for not hiding, or sugar coating your struggles. You are being very humble by doing this, and you know what God says about that, God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble! You will receive grace from God!! What better thing to have then that?! I pray that God will give you the strength that you need, to trust Him, and to have faith in His Word. My prayers are continually with all of you. May God grant C.J. complete healing!!

Your friend,
Joey

Alexa said...

Dear Dawn,

I just can't imagine the daily piercing of your heart as you deal with all this.

I find it challenging enough to deal with the day to day issues that come up with my older children as they grow up. Letting go and letting God, has not been easy.

I have wanted to spare them of pain. When they suffer, I suffer. When they make a wrong choice, I want to rescue them. When they make a right choice, I want to rescue them...but I have "no rescuing" powers, temporarily relief perhaps. How delusional I have been thinking I could take the place of God.

I just can't imagine seeing your child suffer through all this, and then see others in the same situation. A continual breaking of the heart. Thank you for sharing from the depths of your grief...

I thank God for you, for your family, for CJ. Thank you for bravely fighting the enemy of our souls and allowing us to see the step by step process. Thank you for giving us a glimpse of what people with cancer go through.

"I pray that God will protect CJ's body, his organs, heart and that the medicine will go just to the parts that it needs to go. I pray that He will continue to be strengthened and see the power of Christ in his life.

I pray that this situation may continue to strengthen you as a family, as a couple and individually. I pray for all your extended family, for their pain and their suffering. I pray that through this situation others may know Jesus, and the power of His resurrection. "

Much love,
Alexa

Anonymous said...

Dawn ,
I tried to post this but I have a problem everytime I go to post something. I just read your latest blog and my heart breaks for you and CJ. I know from experience that there are days you want to just run and scream. I know i did many times when my daughter sick. It has to be so hard to sit and listen to the other child's screams for help and not be able to do anything., knowing everything that is being done is being done to help her. I just wanted you to know I am still praying for you and CJ as well as my youth group. Thank you for the bracelets you sent us. I will be sharing your latest blog with my Sunday school class tomorrow. My prayers are with you daily. Gods love always.
Jean Mosley
Madison Heights Va.

Anonymous said...

Wow, thank you so much for sharing! Isn't it amazing how God will reveal these sorts of things to us! He has so many huge plans that we cannot comprehend, and yet he lets us see some of them sometimes, and we cannot help but be amazed. I will definitely keep praying for you guys, as well as all of the other children battling cancer.

-Joel

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much, again, for your honesty. It means a lot, the realness of your emotions even more, the realness of your faith. To know you have doubt, even if for a split second, makes my journey a little easier. To know it's just not meant to easy, faith, it's a winding road. I remain on it though. Thank you so much for sharing.Love to all. I think about and pray for you all often.
Amy

Anonymous said...

Dear Dawn,

I finally figured out how to post a comment. I've been crying for the past 45 minutes after reading your latest blog. I can't seem to stop and my heart aches so tremendously deep right now. I know this is a very small fraction of the pain you must feel every day, every minute. You are so brave and your writing is so beautiful. I thank you for having the strength to share your life with us. I love how you find answers to your questions in all your agony. How you spoke of how much pain Mary must have been in watching what Jesus went through. No mother should ever have to watch their child suffer.
It was painful for me when the twins were in neonatal intensive care after birth and I had to watch all the sick babies around us crying and their parents crying. I only had to indure that pain for eight days. You still have such a journey ahead but I know you are much stronger than I and with God's strenth and love you will survive.
I saw Paula the other day and she gave me bracelets for the twins and Daddy. Their little faces lit up like Christmas lights when I placed them on their writsts. They know CJ through me talking of him often. We watched your video from the News together, I've showed them all the pictures from your blog page and we pray for him every night. We are here for you through this. We promise to remain within the circle of your prain chain and if you need anything at all please let us know.
God Bless,
Bill, Kristi, Demi and Dylan

Anonymous said...

1 Peter 5:6-11
Humble yourselves, therfore under Gods mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he CARES for you. be selfcontrolled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of suffering. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ,will after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Just another spirtual weapon our amazing Father has given to us through his Holy Word. C.J. God has given you much wisdom and you are clearly acknowledging where your strength and faith are coming from(GOD) and where the fears that creep in are coming(DEVIL). Stay firm and strong and keep resisting the fears. Bow only to the Father. I love all of you, Gods grace abound to each one. May God continue to teach us lessons on trusting him alone. You are lifted in prayer.

Anonymous said...

Wow.. I can't find any other words to say..Thank you for sharing those thoughts, its amazing how God knows exactly what we are feeling, our suffering here on earth is incomparable with what He did on the cross for us. Yet He is still full of compassion and love, and I know His heart breaks to see his children suffer. I am sure the little girl's mother completely understood your look of compassion. May God continue to lift you up and encourage you. We continue to pray for CJ's complete recovery..Love you guys...The Cookes

janet s said...

Dawn, my heart breaks for you. I am so sorry for your pain. I am thankful, though, that God comforts you and speaks to your heart, revealing Himself continuously. And then you are so humble as you openly and honestly share your struggles with us. Not only are you guiding your children through this with a Gospel-minded focus, but your friends and family who read the blog too. Thank you for being so transparent and taking the time to share your experiences with us. You help us understand a little of what it is like to live with cancer.
We love you and lift you all up to our Abba Father. May God bring complete healing to CJ and may you all continue to grow closer to God and to each other as He carries you through this.
the Sedanos

Katrina Herrero said...

Dear Dawn,
Thank you for sharing this story and for allowing God to re-focus your thinking. Your situation is so overwhelming that it would be completely natural for ANYONE who finds himself in it to be utterly self-focused, but God used the suffering of this innocent little girl to remind you of what really matters: Christ and His compassion and mercy for others, as displayed at Calvary. You and your family have been on a heartbreaking journey that only God can take you on, and He is leading you down a road that no one would ever choose to travel, but I know that you will thank Him at the end of this trip. You have grown by leaps and bounds, and you have blessed us all by sharing your experiences humbly and with a child-like awe. While I don't read your blog as often as I should, I can assure you that each visit here presents me with wisdom I needed for that day. Thank you for not growing weary in doing good, Dawn, and for trusting God - no matter what is happening.

Romans 9:18-20
So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. You will say to me then, "Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?" But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, "Why have you made me like this?"

~Jamie~ said...

Dawn

wow that would have been so hard to listen to, the screaming. The fact you broke down like that shows just how sweet, kind and loving you are, as if we couldnt alredy see that.

I dot think i could have restrained myself from screaming at them to satop it i cant bear seeing children affraid, or hurt, it makes me cry.

I hope things are getting better for you guys fast, still prayig everyday

Tammi said...

Dear Dawn,
Thank you for taking care of my nephew faithfully and for being so strong. I can't even handle listening to Jerri-lyn's protest when she doesn't like the pants I am putting on her and I always end up hugging her and telling her how much I Love her and whatta brat she is . . . and she ends up wearing the pants because its freezing in Gainesville (and she is 2 and I'm the boss), but you get my drift. I can't imagine having to put her through anything worse then forcing her to brush her teeth every morning and night ... to which she fights by putting both of her hands over her mouth and shaking her head back and forth as furiously as she can muster up and even then I am exhausted!!
I will continue to pray for CJ and to wait patiently for God to answer me.
I Love You,
Tammi Jo
P.S. - the post above me from "Jaime" is from NEW ZEALAND! How flipping cool is zat!!!??

Anonymous said...

CJ,
I pray that God would give you the strength and courage you need when you get your medications. Never forget that God gives you your strength and all you need to do is pray for it. I pray that the meds would be working effectively and that your body wouldn't react negatively to it. Even though the medicine does help, God's protection is the most effective medicine.

-Caelan

Anonymous said...

Job 5:11 Yes, it is GOD who raises the humble and gives joy to all who mourn.>>>>>>>>> You are lifted high Dawn, for surely you are humbled by all that you have seen and heard. And yes GOD will give you joy in the saddness you witness at the hospital. You are very loved. Our Lords mercy and grace for today are there for you.

CeCe said...

Mrs. George,
You encourage me so much. You realize your sins, and repent. You shear things that I would not even think about shearing if it happened to me! I would be to embarrassed. I miss you guys a lot.

CJ,
You are probably the strongest kid that I know of. In two ways. The first is that you have so much strength in God during this really hard time, and second is that you are handling this so well. Okay. Since I have not been on in a really long time I think I should REALLY pray.

Dear Heavenly Father,
Please let this strong medication do, as Mrs. George said, there job, and ONLY there job. God we all know you can heal him. Him and his family to always keep in mind that you are doing this for a purpose, and that the purpose you are doing this for is great! Please help lots of people see that the only way CJ could stand this is because you you God, and let those people get converted to You if they are not already Christians God. Please let CJ get no infections God. Thank you that he is strong in you. Thank you that he is doing good, and please let this faze go over quickly God. Thank you for all that you are doing in all of our lives God.
Amen

I hope you guys have a great day, and I miss you guys a lot! Love you all!

In Christ,
In Prayer,
CeCe

Anonymous said...

Matthew 5:5 Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.>>>>>>> C.J. you are one of the most gentle people I know,and being this way shows so many that you love Jesus very much. Peter tell us in 1 Peter 3:15 Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope thats in you, yet with GENTLENESS and reverence. ALSO GENTLENESS ALWAYS GLORIFIES GOD. Gentleness in relation to fellow believers especially glorifies HIM. >>>>>>>>>>Romans 15:5-6 Now may the GOD who gives perseverance and encourgement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the GOD and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.>>>>>>>>>> This verse reminds me of you George family, keep on glorifing our Father,You are lifted in prayer to him who you worship praise and sees us through all trials. to him be the glory

McPherson said...

Wow Dawn, you are an amazingly strong woman and I am so envious of you! I have to admit, its been a while since I've read your blog, but I logged on tonight and got myself all caught up on CJs status and am so glad I did to find out he's handling all the meds very well. He too, is a strong boy, both physically and spiritually and our prayers are working. Even though I lost some time reading, I assure you our prayers were continuous! I often feel so blessed with what God has dealt my family, then I listen to what you're going through and think, there is no way I would be able to handle your situation as well as you do. Yourself and CJs faith makes me a better Christian. Thank you and God Bless you and your family.
Love,
Trish, Bry, Eric & Angel McPherson

Martha Rivero said...

Dear Dawn,

There are no words to express how I felt about your experience at the hospital, I cried and went outside the office to pray and thanking God because I read your post today, and again the message was there. I truly understand how you felt, I am always thinking if I would have the courage to go through a trial like the one you are going through with your loved son, or even more near me my sister which is in the same exact trial with her baby son. It is so hard to imagine how you feel if we have not experience it in our lives. I have had my daughter sick so many times, and I am talking about a flue or a bad cold that have led me to the hospital with major complications, and I have felt the frustration of listening to her screaming because she doesn’t want to get any shots or she simply don’t get why and what is happening. Now I think about your trial, your son, the cancer, and everything that you get to see in the hospital, children that are going through the same, and it sure breaks your heart. I praise the Lord because he speak to your heart and he comfort you, and fill you with love and compassion for others, not all the times we get to have the patience that God wants us to have, but that as well is something we need to ask in our prayers, I ask for patience to growth in me everyday because I get frustrated very easy, but I reading and studing the scriptures, I have learned that to be patient,is to trust in God's promises, I believe that God is always calling me to growth in this field because he knows me better than anyone. I tend to question God in everything too, and I think that is a completely normal thing, is part of the growing in him. One day I read Jesus's story, and now, every time I question God I remember that he himself watched his loved son die to save us. In that moment, I understood that God knows well how we feel in moments like this; This is one of God sides, I have learned in my personal experience that he is a sensitive and compassionate God, because he had felt the pain before. Oh but we can blindly trust in our eternal, merciful, loving, powerful father. May God grant you everything you are praying for, I am praying for CJ everyday, your prayers request is in my heart.

With love and in Christ,
Martha

Sonia said...

Dear Dawn is extraordinary the way you find to associate messages from your experience and find the words of God in events that could be insignificant for many people, but you are so aware, so perceptual with the events and feelings that it makes you get to very important conclusions that give significance to the whole experience and suffering all of you are going through.
Just when we got home I found in may mail "The voice of truth" posted 06 feb. 2009 there I wrote directly to CJ because I was so positive impressed from him, because I really found him brave and full of love and courage, but seems that the message never got there because the post is empty so I want to repeat it for him:

"My Dear CJ: This time I want to write to you directly because Andrea and I were really happy of seeing you and spending that wonderful dinner with you and your family. You are doing a great job, an incredible effort to get over any weakness and God and the support of your family and friends are helping you a lot. You are surrounded of love and tenderness because in the inside is what you have and reflex. Thank you for wanting to be with us, I’m so glad and Andrea too. Say to your family thank you too, for allow it, give a kiss from us to every one specially for Ali. We are always praying for you to keep your strength and courage. The pictures are cool I’m proud they are in the blog. Hope to see you soon again and spend another beautiful evening with you, all the George family and your loving Grandma Paula.
Lots of love
Sonia and Andrea
PD. Alejandra and Antonio really wanted to be there."

I looked in the google the translation for BRIO and the words are: verve, dash, zest, mettle, spirit, pride, fight.
That is all you are and there was the message.
Lots of love,
Sonia, Andrea, Antonio and Ale.

Tammi said...

Dear Dawn & CJ & Allie & Brett & Corey and Chris
I love You,
xoxoxoxox
Aunt Tammi

Tammi said...

Dear Dawn & CJ:
Did You Know That CJ's Birthday falls on Palm Sunday this year?

April 5th, 2009 = Palm Sunday

I Love You,
Aunt Tammi Jo
xoxoxoxoxoxox

Anonymous said...

Hi Dawn and CJ,

This was an extremely hard post to leave a message to. I read it the beginning of this week and just couldn't find the words to write, still cant! Your post shows all the different levels of emotions, fears and feelings that you are facing and it was so raw with feeling and emotion. I couldn't find the words to respond, to try and comfort you. All week long I have been thinking of it and still dont know how to express what I feel. I hope that knowing that we are with you spiritually and praying for you continuously are strong enough words, because they are full of feelings.

Love
Nicole Alberto and Ana